There was a huge tree on the road which lead to the school. It was a huge tree with a big shadow as well, many people used to sit under the tree in the scorching heat of the sun and used to rest here for hours. Underneath the shadow of this tree worked an old cobbler who had been doing this job for many years and now he was so old that while sewing the shoes sometimes his hands used to shiver but he didn’t gave up his job he continued doing it with full heart. A boy who was approximately 8 to 10 years old used to help this old man in sewing the shoes. He was the grandson of this old cobbler and his parents had died in an accidents few years back, the young boy was brought up by the old cobbler.
Every morning both grandson and the old cobbler used to sit under the shadow of the tree and used to work there sewing shoes of the people all day long. Travellers and the people who lived close to that area used to give their worn out shoes to this old cobbler and his grandson so that they repair them. The old cobbler was a very very poor man but he was a very honest person as well, he never begged in front of anyone and always taught his grandson that do whatever work you want but never ever beg to anyone. His grandson used to help him a lot because he knew that he was going to do this work in future as well.
Near that tree there was a small school and during the day time all the kids could be seen studying and playing inside the school. Few students used to come on their cars, few on their cycles and few used to come walking to the school. Ahmad used to look at those kids daily and used to take deep sighs while looking at them wishing to go to school as well, but he knew that he was very poor and they didn’t have that much money and he can never go to school for study.
One day after the school bell rang student rushed to the gate to get to there homes as soon as possible. A boy Salim came to the cobbler and asked him to repair his shoes. The old cobbler asked the boy to sit down for a little while and he will repair his shoes until then. Salim sat down and started looking at the old cobbler while he repaired his shoes. Then suddenly he addressed Ahmad. “what is your name?”.
“I am Ahmad” replied Ahmad.
Salim asked him again “Who is this old man?”.
“He is my Grandfather” replied Ahmad again.
“Why don’t you study? Will you do this work even when you will grow up?” Salim asked again in an investigative manner.
Ahmad didn’t give any answer to this question and kept on doing his work. After sometime the old cobbler gave the repaired shoe back to Salim. Salim gave him the money and returned back to his home. Salim belonged to a well off family and he was a very good student and a very kind hearted person who used to always respect his elders. That night when Salim went to bed he couldn’t sleep at all. Ahmad was in his thoughts and he was continuously thinking that if I can get education then why can’t Ahmad get god education? .
Like every day routine he went to his school the very next morning after eating his breakfast. After attending all the classes at school when he was returning back to home he unintentionally went to that cobbler. The cobbler when saw that boy standing in front of him smiled at him and asked “My son did your shoes break again?”.
“No uncle I came here to meet Ahmad” replied Salim.
The old cobbler got a little sad and replied “My son you know that Ahmad is a very poor child and you are from a well off family, how can you be friends with my grandson Ahmad?”.
Salim completely ignored what the old cobbler said and he addressed Ahmad “Ahmad can we be friends?”.
Ahmad who was quiet up till now suddenly stood up and replied “Yes I will be your friend but what if your parents gets offended by that or they get annoyed?”.
“No way, why would my parents get offended? Being friends with someone is not bad at all” said Salim in an aggressive manner.
Both Salim and Ahmad kept talking to each other for a while after that. The old cobbler after some time asked Salim to go back to his house or else his parents would get worried. Salim when returned back to home he saw his parents really worried.
His father immediately asked “Son, what took you so long to return back home after school?” .
“Dad I was on my way but I stopped at the cobblers shop and I started talking to his grandson Ahmad, he is my new friend and he is a very nice guy.” Replied Salim.
“My son that is totally fine but you are a student and you should be friends with any student, not with a cobbler” said Salim’s father.
“You mean to say that we can not be friends with ay poor person?” Salim asked in an aggressive manner again.
“My son you can be friends with anyone if that person is god but you are a student and it would be better that if u be friends with a student like you” replied Salim’s father.
After eating his dinner Salim went to his bed and kept on thinking about the old cobbler’s grandson Ahmad.
“Why is he so poor? Why his grandfather doesn’t send him to school? Cant any poor person be educated?”
Salim kept on talking to himself while he was lying down on his bed. He got himself tangled in all these questions and he kept on thinking trying to find an answer to these unsought riddles. After thinking a lot he went to his mother and told her everything about that old cobbler and his grandson Ahmad.
Many days passed and he kept on finding the answer to the question that why doesn’t Ahmad study?. His mother tried to tell him many times that he is poor and the old cobbler cannot afford to send Ahmad to school but nothing satisfied Salim. He just wanted Ahmad to go to school and become educated. Now it was Salim’s routine to go and visit Ahmad on his shop one or two times a week, he was slowly and steadily convincing Ahmad to go to school. Ahmad now used to wait for Salim daily and used to enjoy his company a lot because Ahmad used to enjoy listening his school stories and stories about his studies. At night he used to tell all the stories to his grandfather what Salim used to tell him.
Salim’s father used to teach him every day and this was the only reason why Salim always secured the first position in his class. One day Salim was doing his home work that suddenly an idea came to his mind.
“Ahmad works all day with his grandfather but he is free in the evening and he can surely study at this time because he is free at this time. But who will make him study who will teach him, who will buy him books? ” Salim asked himself.
After thinking a lot he decided to talk to his mother. His mother was a very kind hearted person and she also had a soft corner in her heart for Ahmad. She gave this idea to Salim that he should give all his old books to Ahmad and first of all Ahmad will learn to study from these books. Salim liked the idea of her mother but the question in his mind was that who is going to teach him. Salim went to his father and talked to him, his father agreed that when he will teach Salim he will teach Ahmad at that time too.
Now the only job was to convince Ahmad’s grandfather. Next day when Salim was returning back home from school he went to the old cobblers shop and talked to him. He told him everything that his parents have agreed to teach Ahmad. His grandfather at first was a little reluctant and he didn’t agree to it but on too much forcing from his grandson and Salim the old cobbler agreed. The very next day Salim took Ahmad to his home for the evening studies and the process continued for years and years. In this way Salim actually proved that he was A TRUE FRIEND of Ahmad and friendship doesn’t need equality of statuses, all it needs is a kind and a true heart.